Beer Distributors of Massachusetts Voice Opposition to House Bill 245

May 18, 2016

Proposal would stifle the state’s craft beer boom, place jobs at risk.

The Beer Distributors of Massachusetts gathered at the State House today to voice their concerns to lawmakers about House Bill 245, a measure that would stifle the state’s craft beer boom and place full-time jobs at risk

“Established, big breweries are the only ones that stand to gain from this proposal,” said Bill Kelley, president of the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts. “Beer distributors, the more than 2,200 jobs they bring, and startup breweries looking to compete will suffer if H245 passes. As the industry recognizes American Craft Beer Week, we are raising awareness on a proposal that could damage our state’s craft beer renaissance.”

American Craft Beer Week is being celebrated this year from May 16 – 22, 2016.

Massachusetts’ beer distribution industry includes over 2,200 employees, nearly all of whom work full time. They market, promote and deliver craft beer throughout the state, for breweries that range in size from startups looking to enter the market, to large brands producing over 40 million cases in a year. As emerging craft beers attract market share, H245 would dramatically shift state law to favor existing, large brands.

A 2014 Boston Consulting Group report highlighted the ability of the current, three-tier beer distribution system to open doors for start-up and local breweries and praised the current beer distribution system, which promotes and delivers brands of all sizes and gives them market access on store shelves and in drinking establishments. The report concludes: “The ability of small brewers to gain access to the marketplace through independent distributors is a major reason that small brewers are able to exist at all.”

“As craft beer consumers enjoy a market flooded with so many choices of flavors and prices, the value of the current approach is crystal clear,” said Kelley. “As Memorial Day and the start of summer approaches, Massachusetts is enjoying never-before-seen growth in the craft beer industry, benefiting consumers, entrepreneurs and employment. It is truly troubling that some want to bring our beer renaissance to a halt and tip the balance in favor of existing blockbuster brands.”

Today there are more than 100 breweries in Massachusetts, up from 45 in 2011. The state ranked 14th in the United States in barrels of craft beer produced per year, and Massachusetts was named by the Huffington Post as one of “The States with the Best Access to Great Craft Beer.”

“Distributors are crucial to the craft beer boom, and breweries and distributors have successful partnerships built around a shared goal,” said Kelley. “No one wants a brewery to succeed more than its beer distributors. Beer distributors are the biggest cheerleaders for breweries of every size.”

The 13 members of the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts directly employ over 2,200 individuals in Massachusetts, and practically all of these jobs are full time. According to an economic impact study jointly commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, over 41,000 jobs in Massachusetts are linked to its strong beer industry, and America’s beer industry contributes more than $5 billion annually to Massachusetts’ economy.

“H 245 limits consumer choice, stifles competition, stops brands from building, threatens good, middle-class jobs, and looks to solve a problem that just does not exist,” said Kelley. “The Beer Distributors of Massachusetts feels strongly that this legislation should be stopped.”


 The Beer Distributors of Massachusetts is the leading trade association advocating on behalf of family-owned businesses in the beer distribution industry and working to promote the responsible use of the products they distribute. Learn more at


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